The Only People Who Still Believe In Russiagate Are Those Who Desperately Need To

Caitlin Johnstone
6 min readSep 22, 2017

So if you’re having trouble keeping up, you are meant to believe wholeheartedly that Donald Trump is simultaneously:

  • dangerously incompetent,
  • mentally unstable,
  • a closet white nationalist, and
  • a treasonous Kremlin agent.

You are meant to find a way believe all of these things without seeing any contradiction or absurdity among the lot of them. If the notion that someone can be both politically inept and mentally ill while also simultaneously working as a double agent for another government while also simultaneously covertly plotting to turn America into an all-white ethnostate starts to feel a little incredible to you, you’re meant to seclude yourself within an adamantine media echo chamber and bathe in the waters of Verrit and #TheResistance until it all makes sense again.

You are meant to believe that Donald Trump is all of these things all the time, while also finding it perfectly reasonable that both congressional parties are voting to beef up his military budget and continue his unconstitutionally unrestricted war powers. If you are a Democrat living in America, these mental contortions are necessary to avoid having your worldview shattered and having to deal with the cognitive discomfort of realizing that you’ve been completely wrong about everything.

US intelligence veterans William Binney and Ray McGovern have published the results of new tests punching even more holes in the already sieve-like establishment Russia narrative, as well as reemphasizing the under-appreciated fact that if the alleged Russian hack of the Democratic party happened, the NSA unquestionably has proof of it. They could share this proof with the American people at any time without compromising any intelligence sources or revealing any techniques that aren’t already public knowledge anyway, yet they choose not to. This is absolutely unacceptable in a post-Iraq invasion world, and there is therefore no reason to believe the Russian hacking narrative or the Trump-Russia collusion narrative it was based on.

Whenever I talk about the many, many ways in which the official Russian hacking narrative has been debunked into oblivion, I always get some comments from establishment loyalists scrambling in to babble about Facebook propaganda and Twitter bots and financial ties with Russian mobsters, trying to argue that the hacking stuff is irrelevant, but that’s not how this works. All this Russia hysteria was sparked by the allegation that Russia hacked Democratic party emails and gave them to WikiLeaks in order to influence the 2016 election in Trump’s favor, and the allegation that Trump collaborated with them when they did so. Everything else hinges on this being true. You don’t get to move the goalposts to some other gibberish when the entire basis for your Trump-Russia accusations has been ripped to shreds.

These goalpost moves are important to note, because this isn’t the first time America’s unelected power establishment has manipulated its Russia narrative to fit something it was already doing anyway. Their anointed queen, Hillary Clinton, was already scaring people that she was trying to start a war with Russia way back in mid-2015. This was long before any allegations of hacking surfaced. It was even before Russia became directly involved in the war in Syria and Clinton started terrifying everyone by continuing to advocate a no-fly zone on a region where Russian military planes were conducting operations. The establishment was gearing up for dangerous escalations with Russia long before it manufactured its official reason for those escalations. Now you’ve got highly aggressive sanctions leveled at Russia along with troops mobilized near its border with the official reason being their interference in the 2016 election, when all signs indicate it was something these warmongering psychopaths wanted long before then.

Not enough attention is paid to this fact. As a general life tip, the best way to see through the deceptions of a highly manipulative person is to watch their behavior and ignore their stories about it. Ignore what they say and watch what they do. If you can just evaluate their behavior on its own merits without lending any belief to their justifications and explanations behind why they did what they did, you’ll see a very different person than the one they’re trying to trick you into seeing.

America’s unelected power establishment wanted a confrontation with Russia long before it started advancing its unsubstantiated accusations of election meddling, and then lo and behold it produced a reason for that confrontation. America’s unelected power establishment wanted to oust Saddam Hussein long before the accusations about weapons of mass destruction surfaced, and then lo and behold it produced a reason to oust Saddam. If you believe their stories, America’s power establishment is just a compassionate force of good in the world trying to protect innocent people from harm. Ignore their stories and look at their actions and you see an aggressively neoconservative power structure using military force all around the globe to ensure American hegemony and prevent the rise of any potential superpower it might have to compete with in the future.

But establishment liberals don’t really care about Russia. Not really. The average American typically spent roughly zero percent of their day thinking about Russia before their favorite trusted pundits started telling them they need to be afraid of Putin. Democrats had no problem with Obama’s Russia policies, which up until his last weeks in office were virtually identical to Trump’s. They’d drop the Russia hysteria in a heartbeat the second Trump got impeached, and we all know it. It’s never been about Russia for them, it’s been about Trump.

The Oatmeal put out a really great comic a few months ago about the backfire effect, describing in its uniquely funny and insightful style the way our brains protect our worldviews from conflicting information like our immune systems protect our bodies from pathogens. Worldviews are so critical for making sense of our experience that conflicting information which threatens it receives the same kind of neurological response as a physical attack, and the inclination is to rebuff it in the same way. It is possible to shift your perspective, but we’ve got countless generations of evolutionary heritage keeping it from being as easy as we’d like to think it would be. I highly recommend checking out the comic.

In a corporatist government like the United States, most people’s worldview is largely informed by the corporate propaganda they consume on a daily basis. In the leadup to the 2016 election, liberal Democrats were pummelled with propaganda from the corporatist power establishment whose media they tend to consume. They were told over and over and over again every single day in all sorts of ways both subtle and overt that if Trump was elected America would either be transformed into a smouldering nuclear crater or a goose-stepping neo-Nazi dystopia in a few months, and since Trump already belonged to a conflicting ideology this perspective was implemented into their worldviews. Which was why when Trump was sworn in, we saw reactions like this:

Propaganda works. Of course it works. To deny that propaganda works would be to deny that advertising works, and advertising is a half trillion-dollar industry.

After two terms of Dubya, America was too war-weary to elect an aggressive anti-detente Russia hawk like McCain or Romney in 2008 or 2012, but the ruling elites who have been gearing up for that conflict smelled good things in the air for 2016. They threw everything they had into electing virulent Russia hawk Hillary Clinton, with the plutocrats launching an unprecedented propaganda campaign toward that end using the media conglomerates they own. They terrified everyone on what passes for America’s “left” nowadays into thinking it would be the end of the world if Trump won, and then he won.

And they still need their war with Russia, necessitating even more fearmongering propaganda to manufacture support for new cold war escalations.

At this point after all the gaping plot holes that have been exposed in the establishment Russia narrative, this is the only reason people still believe in it. Their worldviews have been pummelled into submission by the corporate propaganda machine into a shape they don’t know how to undo, and they’re stuck feeling like they’re being physically attacked by anything contradicting that worldview. The only alternative to being stuck in that helpless state would be to turn and face the psychological discomfort of dismantling the worldview they’ve been psychologically abused into espousing, and march all the way through a rigorous inquiry with uncompromising intellectual honesty.

Hey, miracles happen.

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